Is there such a thing as a feminine vs masculine smile? If so, what are those differences and should they be reflected in my own smile?
So, let’s begin by establishing whether there is a genetic difference between the teeth of women and men. In a 2009 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers compared the teeth female and male participants to observe some interesting differences indeed. The following was reportedly found from their data: “Significant differences between males and females were found in BL (buccolingual) measures of all maxillary teeth as well as mandibular lateral incisor and canine. Within the MD (mesiodistal) measures, the most distinguishing were maxillary and mandibular canines and the first molars.”
You may now be wondering what differences exactly were noted between the male and female groups? While the genetic differences may be somewhat slight, this study and others have shown that men tend to possess larger diameter incisors and canines in both the width and depth dimensions of each respective tooth. In general, the overall effect this difference would have is that men’s teeth will look bulkier and squarer while women’s teeth will appear more long and slender.
Still, other studies conducted both within and outside of the dental profession refute that such differences exist. Even the perception of what is considered to look ‘masculine’ versus ‘feminine’ is a matter on which many experts often disagree. So, while there is a lack of consensus both within and outside of the world of dentistry about the topic, the ultimate compass of whether a smile should look more feminine or masculine is the desires of the patients themselves.
As such, a patient may express that his teeth may appear too small for his face and he may express this by stating that the teeth appear ‘feminine’. On the other hand, a patient may state that her teeth appear to bulky, or ‘masculine’.
Orthodontists receive extensive training both within dental school and their residency programs in a variety of methods that may be used to re-contour the teeth so that they may be given more feminine or masculine appearance. In general, orthodontists aim to preserve the form of healthy and proportionate teeth as much as possible (regardless of femininity/masculinity) and will recommend correction of disproportionate teeth, sometimes with the help of a general dentist.